The Fitting Room Chronicles: The ’90s Are Back (Kinda)

The 1990s were all about collecting Trolls (the dolls, people!), attempting to wear baggy jeans a la Kriss Kross that were so huge, Jimmy Hoffa was probably hiding in them, Puka shells, and those jelly sandals that melted under the sun, along with your feet.

Thank the lord the 1990s are over.
Thank God the 1990s are over.

But not all of the ’90s were bad! We had the Spice Girls (Ginger will always be my girl), those pacifier necklaces that I apparently had in every color, all the babydoll dresses graced by Courtney Love, and plenty of Black Cherry or Toast of New York lipstick.

This is more like it.
This is more like it.

Perhaps I feel somewhat grossed out that the ’90s are considered vintage to some. I mean, I was alive in that era! I remember it well! That was like, 20 years ago! As if! Whatever!

Yup.
Yup.

Anyway…

On a recent trip to one of my favorite thrift stores in The Village, I found this blast from the past.

IMG_4233
TGI…S (it was Saturday).

Normally, I don’t go for cartoony prints or super body-hugging ensembles, but this was somewhat perfect. Back when I was a wee child of the ’90s, I remember bootleggers on the block selling these awesome Looney Tunes t-shirts that would go perfectly with Kriss Kross jeans. This reminded me of those and I was feeling rather nostalgic. Also, as super body-hugging as this outfit was, I felt like I was wearing one big t-shirt. Win.

Just me.
Just me.

Do I still think the ’90s are technically vintage? Not really. But I’m also pretty biased. Personally, anything between the ’30s-’60s is considered vintage to me, and then we’re entering retro territory (hello ’80s and ’90s). Maybe because these eras are nowhere near my lifetime and finding such pieces in near-excellent condition for a swell price is like discovering gold, they hold a greater status for me and such, can be members of the true Vintage club. Honestly, pieces from ’70s-’90s are super accessible at stores, and hello, I was alive during the ’90s! I remember grunge bands when they were still touring in Seattle!

But enough of all that. I’m just going to kick back with one of my favorite throwbacks right here:

Frasier fans, represent!
Frasier fans, represent!

Who knows, I might bring these back, too:

You're my butterfly, sugar baby.
You’re my butterfly, sugar baby.

Are you kidding me? No I won’t.

“It Really Was Raining”

For my day job, I do more writing, which includes interviewing interesting people. Like models. You know, those gorgeous sirens you see on the cover of magazines and towering billboards.

They often tell me how they always look so immaculate, as well as what shooting for those covers are really like. It usually involves dipping their near-nude figures in an ice cold beach just when the sun rises for the best lighting and wearing sweat-inducing armor for couture hours on end.

If we could all look like this 1950s model in the rain.
If we could all look like this 1950s model in the rain.

I would always think to myself, Well surely it can’t be that bad. Just look at you. The world is your giant oyster and it offers all the pearls you want.

Well, I got a taste of it. Somewhat.

While visiting South Street Seaport one semi-gloomy (and unusually chilly) Saturday during the summer season, I was compelled to be photographed to remember the time I went all the way downtown. Then, it started to rain. Jordan suggested to use the umbrella as a prop. This was the result.

Photo by Jordan Race
Photo by Jordan Race

But reader, it really was raining. Fat, ice cold droplets of water were smacking my face, the wind was blowing each minute with full vengeance, and my hair provided unforgiving whiplashes. But nope. I was going to get my picture. I guess this is what real models go through.

Photo by Jordan Race
Photo by Jordan Race

My dress is a vintage 1970s bohemian pink floral maxi from the West Village. The label is unknown, but I love how easy-breezy it is for the summer. The gown makes me feel as if I’m ready to stroll through the streets of Tuscany. I added a wide leather corselet belt to accentuate my waist and avoid that dreaded pajama feel.

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You can get a similar look: ’90s grunge pink maxi for $34.50, a soft rayon maxi for $39, a 1970s butterfly sleeve non-floral pink maxi for $40, or a more tannish floral maxi for $48. If you’re looking to splurge, I really like this 1970s-inspired coral maxi for $98 or this 1930s French gown from Paris for $148.25. When shopping from Etsy, always make sure to note the measurements provided on any listing and don’t hesitate to reach out to the vendors with any sizing concerns you may have. I always do.

Photo by Jordan Race
Photo by Jordan Race

Even in the rain, I let my hair down (literally). But I must tell you, those Goody Spin Pins are a must-have for a quick bun. They’re less than $10.

Photo by Jordan Race
Photo by Jordan Race

And smiled, wearing Revlon’s pinky-red “Cherries in the Snow” creme lipstick. It’s also less than $10.

But in the end, there were cocktails to be found at Fresh Salt. I had the cup of rosé while Jordan sipped on a bourbon cocktail. Both were divine.

Drinks at Fresh Salt.
Drinks at Fresh Salt.

I’m certainly not a model. But at least I can now say I played one. In the rain. It was messy. But worth it. Now I can go back to eating my burger.

The end.
The end.

Celebrating Marilyn Monroe at Pop!

Blonde bombshell Marilyn Monroe would have been 89 on June 1st. Although she passed away at age 36 in 1962, her legacy has lived on, capturing the hearts of millions throughout the world, including mine. So when Pop International Galleries in SoHo was debuting a new exhibition dedicated to Ms. Monroe, you know I was going to be there. The exhibition is called “Happy Birthday Marilyn Monroe!” and it features the works of seven renowned photographers who’ve captured the many iconic and even little-seen looks of the Hollywood star. Here are the photographers you can expect to see:

Lazlo Willinger
Lazlo Willinger
Milton Greene
Milton Greene
Kashio Aoki
Kashio Loki
William Carroll
William Carroll
George Barris
George Barris
Bert Stern
Bert Stern
Andre de Dienes
Andre de Dienes

For the exhibition opening, I gave my usual corselet belt a break *gasp* and decided to go for a golden vintage-inspired dress by……drumroll……H&M.

Photo by Alexcia Foster
Photo by Alexcia Foster

H&M always offers great deals, but I usually prefer waiting for a sale, where you can easily get nice pieces for half the price, which is exactly what I did with this floral cotton dress.

Photo by Alexcia Foster.
Photo by Alexcia Foster.

It seems to no longer be available, but I’m really into this one ($34.95), this one ($30), and this one ($24.99).

Photo by Alexcia Foster
Photo by Alexcia Foster

The lipstick I’m wearing is Revlon’s creamy Certainly Red. It’s less than 10 bucks and lasts beyond glasses of wine and savoring French cheeses at a gallery.

Photo by Alexcia Foster
Photo by Alexcia Foster

This photo was taken when I was nearly photobombed by Mike Myers. You might know him from films, like “Wayne’s World,” “Austin Powers,” and even “Shrek” for you youngins out there. Of course, I didn’t say anything. I’m a New Yawker. We don’t do that. It’s all about the quick glances, WTF stares, and quiet smiles of acknowledgement.

Yeah, I know.
Yeah, I know.

The evening ended with a quiet stroll through Washington Square Park in the Village.

Washington Square Park
Washington Square Park

The “Happy Birthday Marilyn Monroe” exhibition ends on July 1st, so go check it out pronto!

Photo by Alexcia Foster
Photo by Alexcia Foster

Cheating Death in Central Park

“There are always flowers for those who want to see them.” – Henri Matisse

“Canadian Geese in Central Park” – By Me

Nature and I are serious frenemies. I love escaping the concrete scenery of New York City for something green and lush. Nothing makes me happy like finding a beautiful blooming flower to photograph. And fluttering butteries or even the occasional rabbit hopping around fills my heart with joy.

I’m also allergic to pollen-mosquitos-pretty-much-every-bug-and-plant-alive-outside.

I like turtles.
I like turtles.

As you can imagine, parks aren’t always my thing because well, walking around with a swollen face isn’t fun. But on one sun-soaked Sunday, I was compelled to drag Jordan to Central Park. Sure, there were tourists everywhere and good luck creating some sort of great  Exodus for insects, but in the words of Rhett Butler…

“Gone With the Wind”

For the outing, I decided to channel my tropical roots. I wore a red floral midi dress from the 1970s, which was purchased from Colorado-based Etsy shop, The Braided Bandit. Its vibrant red shade just screams summer, don’t you think?

The Braided Bandit
The Braided Bandit

As you can see, the dress originally came with long sleeves, but my bulging biceps just weren’t having it. My tailor, also known as my fairy godmother who always makes me go from drab to fab, suggested I remove the sleeves completely. This was the end result:

Photo by Jordan Race
Photo by Jordan Race

The idea was actually a brilliant one. Not only does it look more weather-appropriate, but I was still able to make use of a new piece. If the sleeves of your piece just doesn’t fit the way you would like, consider removing them completely or at least making them half-sleeves, depending on the fit. You will completely transform your outfit and it will fit you so much better. Any tailor can easily do this, but if you’re more of a DIY gal, YouTube also has some great tutorials on sleeve removal.

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Photo by Jordan Race

Because we were roughin’ it, I left behind my heels (in my purse of course) and wore more comfy ballet flats. Per usual, one of my many corselet belts made an appearance. I paired them with golden chandelier earrings from H&M and wore Relvon’s blazing “Hot Coral” lipstick. It’s an incredibly moisturizing lipstick, so I didn’t have to worry too much about reapplying during the day.

Photo by Jordan Race
Photo by Jordan Race

And in case you’re wondering, I survived. Jordan and I celebrated at Flatiron District’s Marta, the new It-pizza stop where wine flows freely and massive pies are served to your liking.

Classic Pizza Margherita at Marta. Yum.
Classic Pizza Margherita at Marta. Yum.

See you next time when I attempt to cheat death!

Photo by Jordan Race
Photo by Jordan Race

Just Another Rooftop

I may be afraid of heights, but this New Yorker prefers wining and dining up in the clouds surrounded by skyscrapers. Really, why would anyone want to break a sweat in 90something degree weather in a stuffy room when you can catch a cool breeze up above everyone else?

Having Cocktails in the Sky.
Having Cocktails in the Sky.

Francis and I make it our mission to visit every rooftop spot in town, so when we were invited to culinary extraordinaire David Burke’s SPYGLASS above the Archer Hotel in midtown, needless to say we were going.

Our View.
Our View.

SPYGLASS is fantastic because it’s walking distance from many offices in the area. So whether you had a rough day at work or simply just want to kick back, this is a swanky rooftop that requires zero subway or taxi transportation, depending where you are. Just a simple stroll will do. Your nostrils will thank you if sticking your nose into someone’s armpit in a too-tight train or being glued to the chair of a cab on a sweltering day isn’t your thing.

Enjoying Ourselves.
Enjoying Ourselves.

SPYGLASS also gives you a direct view of the Empire State Building while you’re enjoying lobster dumplings, oysters, and thirst-quenching cocktails. Don’t get me wrong, the Village will always be my home away from home no matter where I am, but this local deal isn’t too shabby.

Photo by Francis Rodriguez.
Photo by Francis Rodriguez.

Now for the dress. I absolutely fell in love when I saw this piece in a West Village thrift store. It features the brightest orange flowers I’ve ever seen. Seriously, you can light up any room with this thing.

Photo By Francis Rodriguez.
Photo By Francis Rodriguez.

Unfortunately, I don’t have too many details about the dress. No label was found, but it came in excellent condition and was around 25 bucks. It reminds me of a 1950s (or even 60s) cocktail dress. Since the dress zips from the back and not the side, it comes from a later period (not the 50s). That’s one trick to tell if your ensemble is possibly more modern or much older. Also, this outfit highlights a full skirt, so no petticoat is require to add some dramatic flair. Just be prepared to slap people around with your hips.

Photo by Francis Rodriguez.
Photo by Francis Rodriguez.

I paired the dress with matching navy patent pumps to keep the look more uniformed. The focus remains on the dress, as opposed to dizzying anyone with too much going on.

Original Fire & Ice Ad.
Original Fire & Ice Ad.

As for the lipstick? That’s Revlon’s Fire & Ice, which was first introduced in 1952. It was reportedly one of the many shades of red Marilyn Monroe wore. You can still find it in nearly any drugstore for less than 10 bucks.

Marilyn Monroe, 1952.
Marilyn Monroe, 1952.

The lipstick is a very bold, fiery red shade, so I blotted it just a bit to tone it down. Again, I wanted the dress to be the focal point. I finished my look with champagne.

Photo by Francis Rodriguez.
Photo by Francis Rodriguez.

This was our view for the evening.

Our Evening View.
Our Evening View.

So seriously, what are you doing down there? Start rooftopping it!